Anthony Guerra

Spool [#2]

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Imagine if Fripp & Eno's No Pussyfooting were done in 2002, not just the beneficiary of all the technological advances made in the interim but, more importantly, incorporating the wellspring of ideas that have formed in post-AMM free improvisation. You might have something like Anthony Guerra's Spool [#2]. Guerra, a young guitarist and electronicist, has crafted an intense, prickly, and lush series of pieces that both recalls that masterwork of harsh ambience (and, perhaps even more, the baleful, forbidding sound world of "An Index of Metals") and transports it beyond its art rock/minimalist confines out into the gritty street of free improv, where it stands in the glorious lineage of musicians like Keith Rowe and stands pretty well. After a couple of fascinating, understated tracks, the third cut (none of the pieces are titled) takes off into an 18-minute churning, evolving maelstrom of electric guitar, droning for all it's worth until wrung utterly dry, left hollow and keening. On the ensuing track, Guerra breaks out a drum kit and uses it as coloration alongside some lovely controlled feedback and ringing tones. The closing cut is even more reminiscent of some of the tracks on side one of Evening Star, though with a needed measure of sand thrown into the gears. Guerra was, apparently, unaware of this musical connection, making the sounds produced here perhaps even more surprising. Whatever the inspiration, Spool [#2] is a superb exemplar of the huge creativity that can result when some of rock's richest ideas are melded with the inspiration and "sense of life" of freely improvised music at the turn of the century. It's a wonderful recording and is highly recommended.

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